Despite the recent, successful efforts to detect mycotoxins, new methods are still required to achieve higher sensitivity, more simplicity, higher speed, and higher accuracy at lower costs. This paper describes the determination of ochratoxin A (OTA) using corona discharge ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) in the licorice root. A quick screening and measuring method is proposed to be employed after cleaning up the extracted OTA by immunoaffinity columns. The ion mobility spectrometer is used in the inverse mode to better differentiate the OTA peak from the neighboring ones. After optimization of the experimental conditions such as corona voltage, injection port temperature, and IMS cell temperature, a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.010 ng is obtained. Furthermore, the calibration curve is found to be in the range of 0.01-1 ng with a correlation coefficient (R-2) of 0.988. Licorice roots were analyzed for their OTA content to demonstrate the capability of the proposed method in the quantitative detection of OTA in real samples. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.